Each month, The Central Minnesota Catholic plans to feature a story about a modern-day “Good Samaritan” from the diocese, someone who exhibits the work of the Gospel through their life and service. This initiative reflects the teachings of Pope Francis’ new encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti.” This month’s Good Samaritan is Marlyn Beaudine of St. Augustine Parish in St. Cloud.
A little girl, about 4 years old, came outside of her home to greet him, pulling her walker behind her. The whole time that Marlyn Beaudine was there installing an access ramp for her, the little girl never stopped talking. She also had a whole litter of new kittens, who kept climbing up the trees in her yard.
“We spent more time chasing those cats than we did installing the ramp,” Marlyn laughingly recalled.
This is just one of many memories Marlyn has from the 69,000-plus volunteer hours he has put in since retiring from the telephone industry 32 years ago.
Although a man of few words, the twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face when reminiscing about these memories tells just how much his service means to him as well recipients of his generosity.
Growing up on a farm, Marlyn said, “Farmers always took care of farmers.”
“If somebody got sick, we went over and did their chores. If a house burned down, we built a new one. [Helping out] was just a given,” he said.
After leaving the farm, Marlyn entered the U.S. Army where he spent three years as an explosive ordinance disposal expert. He then married, started a family and went to work for an area telephone company. In 1989, he had the opportunity to retire and he took it. And he’s been busy ever since.
He started out volunteering with the Telephone Pioneers, a volunteer network comprised mostly of people retired from the telephone industry. There he met a woman who had a template for sewing fabric bags that work really well for people in wheelchairs. He passed the idea to some of the Pioneers and it took off. He delivers about 1,200 bags a year to 43 locations around Minnesota.
“They’re still making them, and I’m still delivering them,” Marlyn said.
His other activities include 11 years with the Red Cross, working both locally and across the state, including assistance during the Grand Forks flood in 1997 and the St. Peter tornado in 1998; 11 years doing maintenance work at St. Augustine Catholic School in St. Cloud; working with the Knights of Columbus Council 961, specifically making over 30,000 chain rosaries; installing ramps and grab bars for Independent Lifestyles Inc. and by word of mouth; and mowing the lawn twice a week in the summer months at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls.
“It takes about five hours to do it, around 103 trees and 3,500 tombstones,” he said.
People who know Marlyn said the reason he is a Good Samaritan is that he would never leave a person on the side of the road to fend for themselves.
One such friend, who wished to remain anonymous said, “Marlyn has helped so many people who could not help themselves. Sometimes they did not have the physical ability to do the job, sometimes they did not have the resources, or sometimes they lacked financial ability. It seemed to him that it didn’t matter. He was always there to help.”
He may be the strong, silent type, but he is definitely a man of many tasks and many gifts.
“I just do whatever comes up,” Marlyn said. “I like it because it’s something to do, it’s a good reason to get up in the morning, if you’re helping somebody.”
He has also made at least five trips with Telephone Pioneers to Puerto Rico to build houses and “fix everything we could.”
“That was a fun place to work, people really appreciated it. There’s always a new adventure, and always a need,” Marlyn said.
He says he will keep volunteering as long as he can and he hopes other people will try it, too.
“Volunteering is fun. I like doing the work. I like working with people,” he said. “It’s been a good experience all the way around.”
DO YOU KNOW A “GOOD SAMARITAN”?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about them!
To learn more about Pope Francis’ latest encyclical “Fratelli Tutti,” visit https://bit.ly/2JKaJzp.